Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tomato Chickpea Chipotle Soup ~ Hear Me Out

I know what you're thinking...another Chickpea Soup?!  And one that looks exactly like her other Chickpea Soups!?  Major Yawn!  I am so done with her!

But wait!!  While I do not think I should really have to explain myself  (being that I desperately want you to still like me) ...I will. 

You see...when I saw a version of this soup on Simply Life earlier this week, I could barely contain my excitement and here's why...

When I eat Chickpea Soup I feel super healthy.  It takes one hot bowl of the stuff to leave my body satisfied and my palate excited!  I will even go so far as to say I believe chickpeas (when part of my regular diet) help me maintain a healthy weight - therefor - I am always looking for new and exciting soup ideas where the chickpea is an integral component!

Now... throw some chipotle in adobo to the mix...and I'm in spicy chickpea heaven!

The other chickpea recipes I have featured on my blog (though similar in appearance and deliciousness) are Mediterranean and/or Middle Eastern inspired.  Here (thanks to Simply Life's original introduction) the Chickpea and Chipotle meet again...creating another healthy and hearty soup with Smokey Mexican Flare! 

*Oh, by the way... Braun and I reunited for old time sake! He's alright that Braun...  ;)
**Also...chickpeas NOT your thing? Try using black beans instead...that's on my list of things to do!

 I LOVE this soup!

Tomato Chickpea Chipotle Soup


2-4 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (add some additional sauce if you want more heat but use caution!)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 14-15 oz. cans chickpeas**, drained and rinsed
2 14-15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, I used fire roasted
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
chopped scallion for garnish
Sour Cream - just a bit stirred in but completely optional
Kosher salt (only if needed - taste soup before salting - some stocks add enough salt)
Fresh cracked pepper


Over medium heat, in a large stock pot (equipped with lid) add olive oil then onion, garlic and chipotle pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes.

Add chili powder and cumin, stir together for one minute.

Add chickpeas and stir until well coated, about 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, stock and stir. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, turn down heat to a simmer, add cilantro, stir, then cover pot and let simmer for 40 minutes.

Remove from heat and eat as is OR mash soup with a potato masher or electric hand held mixer (*i.e. Braun) or regular blender.

Garnish with chopped scallion and more cilantro and sour cream if you like.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken with Ginger Garlic Scallion Sauce ~ A Life Altering Trip

We're back from our trip. Despite all the fun we had, I have to share some news that anyone who has ever raised children will understand in its scope and severity. It's a game changer.

Our two year old son went from a little guy who loved to go to bed every night and snuggle in his crib (even went as far as to wish us goodnight while we closed his door)... to a crib catapulting, hysterical, crazed, mommy leg hugging, "not going to bed unless you're beside me singing" creature from the land of toddlers I flat out don't like!

This was not suppose to happen! He was suppose to be so thrilled with being home and back in his own bed, that after bath time he'd look up at us with those darling huge eyes and through his adorable soft lips murmur, "Bed time Mommy and Daddy? Please."

But no, Thanksgiving Trip 2010 changed him.

So what's a Mom to do? After six (yes six) scoop-ups in the hallway to return the boy to his bed, I stood there and sang the crap out of, "Hush Little Baby Don't Say a Word...." You know the one..."Daddy's Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird..."  - BUT -  because I don't know the words - I just started making up all sorts of ridiculous versus!

The first word that came to mind (that rhymed with the previous) flew out of my mouth with ease - all to ensure no breach in song that might encourage widening eyes or spontaneous movement.  In fact, for the sake of continuous flow and rhyme - I swore once and even made a few words up.

Don't judge...I'm so sleep deprived.

After he finally drifted off to sleep, I decided I'd continue the wine theme of the last week month by opening a bottle of Pinot Noir and then preparing this delicious Chicken with Ginger Garlic Scallion Sauce for my husband and myself. 

With this dinner...I take solace in the fact that when I've lost all control in life...I can still rule my kitchen!  It's good to be home.

Chicken with Ginger Garlic Scallion Sauce
Adapted from Grouprecipes.com  by: jimrug1

*The original recipe calls for Salmon, I substituted chicken breast as I had some on hand

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh ginger (1/4 inch slice) 
4-6 large scallions (sliced on a bias 1 1/2 inch long)
*I added 1/4 cup sliced hot peppers (cut on a bias as we wanted heat)
*I added 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 T soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 Tsp sugar
1 - 2 Tables olive oil
toasted sesame oil (Garnish)


Place a heavy 10 - 12 inch skillet on high heat. When hot, add Olive Oil to barely coat bottom.

When oil smokes, place chicken pieces in pan and cook until par cooked (about 4 minutes)

Remove chicken and set aside. Turn down heat to medium. Add ginger, hot peppers and garlic. Cook 2-3 mins. Add Scallions. Cook 30 sec. Add wine. Deglaze until the wine reduces to 1/2 cup or less.

Add water, soy sauce, sugar. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to med. Simmer approx. 1 - 2 Mins.

Add chicken back to the pan. Simmer for approx. 2-4 min. or until cooked through.

To Serve: Spoon the Ginger/Scallion sauce over the Chicken and drizzle with toasted Sesame Oil, Garnish with Scallion. (I think a garnish of cashews or peanuts would be nice too!)

Serve with Jasmine Rice.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Would You Rather?

After visiting with family for the holiday, we're still on the road staying with friends. It's Saturday afternoon and everyone went to the game. Poor me stayed back with my children. I debated going to lunch or taking the kids for a walk - but the flurries and wind said otherwise. Instead...I put the little ones down for a much needed nap, made this sandwich and helped myself to a beer.

So for today's traveling post I thought I'd ask, "Would You Rather..."

Be standing outside at a tailgate in 30 degree temps, drinking Bloody Mary's and hot chocolate, eating hot dogs and then sitting through a college football game? (PSU/MSU)


Sitting in a warm house with sleeping kiddies, games on large flat screen, homemade sandwich with chips and an ice cold {draft} beer?

I decided either way...I'm happy  :)   I'll be back in my kitchen (and to visiting your blogs) soon!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last years Turkey before being deep fried!
We're super busy this week with family and friends so not sure I'll find the time to post.

In the spirit of Turkey Day I thought I'd share with you a short Thanksgiving poem my sister wrote when she was little....I have always loved it to this day!

There once was a turkey named Guy,
Whose biggest fear was to die.
Thanksgiving came a comin'
So Guy went a runnin'
And on Thanksgiving we only had pie.

Enjoy the holiday! Be back soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Crab Cakes

This second hors d'oeuvres was the result of my yearning to marry the following two classics, the jalapeno popper and the crab cake. In search of a creamy, crabby texture, I did something some may consider blasphemy...but hear me out...

I put the entire mixture (crab meat and all) in the food processor....yes that's right I said crab meat and all... but this was claw meat (not jumbo lump) and so at $7.99 a lb. (compared to lump's hefty $24-25) ...I figured for experimentation's sake, why not give it a shot!

I tried to keep them relatively simple and in the interest of time (or lack there of on Thanksgiving Day) they're even better made a day in advance! Feel free to leave out the jalapeno if spicy is not your thing - you'll be left with a creamy textured crab cake.

If you do add the diced jalapeno, add as much or as little as you like.  What's nice about these jalapeno crab cakes...you can easily taste the mixture before forming into balls and baking, as there's no raw egg in the recipe.

Broiled not fried...creamy, crabby, spicy, crunchy and delicious!  Top with (or serve along side) a warm marinara, classic cocktail, cooling ranch or tarter sauce...for a crowd pleasing, holiday worthy display!

*Shown above is a sour cream, cream cheese mixture placed in a plastic bag, corner clipped and drizzled on top. Below, diced jalapeno garnish. 

Jalapeno Popper Crab Cakes


1 lb. Crab Meat, claw meat used here for to conserve cost (I use Phillips Brand)
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 shallots, finely diced
2-4 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and finely diced
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 scant teaspoons Old Bay
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (dried fine too)
5-6 ounces, softened Cream Cheese (Only Philadelphia Brand!)
1 heaping tablespoon good mayonnaise
1/2 cup Panko Crumbs (plus more for rolling)


Preheat broiler.

Cook up celery, shallot and jalapeno pepper in bit of butter until soft about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
Drain and pick through crab meat to remove any shell bits that may have been left behind. Place claw meat, jalapeno, celery, shallot, Old Bay, lemon juice, parsley, cream cheese and mayonnaise in food processor and pulse until well combined and creamy (pushing down sides as needed).
Place mixture in large bowl and add 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs and stir until well combine.
Place extra Panko on a flat plate, form crab mixture into bite size ball shapes and then roll in the panko. Place Crab Balls in a roasting pan with sides, sprayed with a bit of cooking spray. (Spray the tops of the crab with the cooking spray too to encourage browning.) 
Broil for approximately 4-5 minutes, then flip over and broil an additional 3-5 on the other side - keeping an eye not to over brown. (You could fry these as oppose to broiling in oven, but I opted to broil and they came out great!)
Place on serving tray and serve with favorite sauce.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smoked Salmon stuffed with Cream Cheese, Scallion and Panko Quenelles

Like many of you, I've been contemplating appetizers for Thanksgiving Day. Those little bites you display on dishes and trays around the house, so that people can nibble away in anticipation of the main event!

I think the trick in the hors d'oeuvres department is to keep things light...after all...the last thing you want is for guests to arrive at your table with a belly full of bread! So here is one (of probably a few more to come) we'll be serving that day. 

The creaminess of the cheese, hint of scallion and subtle crunch of panko all snugly wrapped in a luscious slice of Hickory-Smoked, Wild Alaskan Salmon...is rich enough to satisfy anxiously awaiting palates while still leaving room for Mom's homemade mashed potatoes!

Smoked Salmon stuffed with Cream Cheese, Scallion and Panko Quenelles

High Quality Smoked Salmon
Cream Cheese, Only Philadelphia Brand!
Panko Crumbs
Scallion, finely diced

Mix together scallion and panko on a flat dish. Take two long iced tea spoons and shape cream cheese into quenelle shapes using a back and forth motion.

Roll the cheese quenelle in the scallion and panko mixture.

Carefully wrap smoked salmon around cheese. Plate and serve.

*Could serve as is (shown here) or atop an English cucumber slice, cracker or toast point. Top w/Salmon caviar for an extra special presentation!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Simple Homemade Chicken Strips ~ Dino What?

OK, OK...YES!  I make my children frozen Dino Buddies for dinner...often!


All these months I've kept that secret pent-up, wishing I were the perfect food blogging Mommy - but the truth is - while my husband and I are dining on deliciously pleasing Moroccan Stews, Spicy Pork Tacos and Jumbo Lump Crab... my young ....on occasion....are enjoying their fresh from the freezer, fried and then oven-baked chicken nuggets, all molded into clever little prehistoric creatures!

In Dino Buddies defense (and mine) the packaging reads, 100% all natural, no preservatives and the fun, colorful box provides a wonderful opportunity for a brief (yet age appropriate) vocabulary lesson. Dinner time (with a two and four year old) takes on a whole new vibe when reviewing such interesting words as... herbivore, carnivore, pangea and earth destroying asteroid!

But this post is NOT about Dino Buddies...because tonight I whipped up the little beauties above from scratch! 

Now if you'll excuse me... I'm off to call my friends (those that don't read my blog...and so the term "friend" is used extremely lightly) and subtly drop a line or two about these homemade chicken strips my children adored! 

I can hear myself now, "What are they called you say? You make your little ones Dino-bits? Buds? Buddies? No, I've actually never heard of them...?" ;) 

Simple Homemade Chicken Strips

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3-5 inch pieces (about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil for pan frying

Preheat oven to 300. Mix together flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cheese. Lightly beat the two eggs in a small separate bowl.

Dredge chicken strips in four mixture, then dip in egg wash, then back to flour mixture, coating well and shaking off excess.

In a large pan with olive oil over medium heat, fry up the chicken strips in batches and cook until lightly browned all around (about 3-4 minutes). Adjust heat setting and add oil as needed.

Place in oven to cook through (about 5-8 minutes). Serve hot with dipping sauces.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Break Up

Just a quick Thursday night post to announce...I'm breaking up with Braun.

I know, I know...we were the last ones you expected...but isn't that always the case?

It was a difficult decision, but after making Dave's Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup again tonight and opting not to completely puree it (like Braun and I did originally) it made me realize I've become too dependent...too much of an "enabler" to Braun's willingness and ability to pulverize - into oblivion - even the most tender of ingredients.

Braun's power to turn a wilted spinach leaf into something barely recognizable (frankly) has become frightening...and so while this may seem abrupt - for me - it's the right decision. 

Dave Lieberman's Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup (no doubt delicious WITH Braun) was over the top wonderful....without him....just as Dave intended.

So sure...  ...I'll miss Braun.

And there will be times (out of pure habit) I'll appropriately pivot over to his drawer.... yearning for what we once had...

But with this post...I am hoping to find the strength to rid myself of Braun...

...if only for the weekend. ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simple Chicken Meatloaf ~ Deep Thoughts...

Simple Chicken Meatloaf

There's the good...the bad...and the ugly.

Mom's, Dad's, Grandma's, Aunt Edna's and your own.

The cafeteria's, Boston Market's, Stouffer's and the diner's.


It's black...brown...orange...and various shades of red.

Beef, turkey, chicken, tofu, veal and lamb.

Twisted, mushed, poked, prodded, squeezed, lumped and molded.


Standing proudly all alone...or stuffed with boiled eggs and cheese.

Overcooked or undercooked ....more times than to perfection.

Economical, comforting, versatile and delicious.


~ The End ~

Penny for your thoughts regarding... Meatloaf. 

Simple Chicken Meatloaf  (So, so GOOD!)
Adapted from GoodHousekeeping.com, Chicken Romano Meatloaf


1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 T olive oil
1 t Parsley flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano (or Parmesan) cheese
1/2 cups plain dried bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 cup + quality marinara sauce
2 pounds ground chicken

Saute onion and garlic in tablespoon olive oil for 5-8 minutes, until soft. Remove from pan and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line 13" by 9" metal baking pan with foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir Romano, bread crumbs, onion/garlic mixture, egg, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add chicken and mix just until combined.

Spoon chicken mixture into center of prepared pan; shape into 9" by 5" loaf, pressing firmly. Spread remaining 1/2 cup + marinara over top.

Bake meatloaf 1 hour and 5 to 10 minutes (mine took 50 minutes) or until temperature on instant-read thermometer inserted in center of meat loaf reaches 165° F (temperature will rise to 170° F upon standing). Let meatloaf stand 10 minutes for easier slicing.

*If you make it ahead of time, you can lightly tent with foil and then a few minutes before eating, preheat broiler, slice the meatloaf, top with a bit more sauce and mozzarella (or cheese of choice)  -heat until cheese is melted and ENJOY! YUMMMM!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies ~ Step Away from the Rack

When these Soft Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies emerged from the oven early this morning, my loving husband took one look at them and shook his head in pity.

"Honey," he said, "you should really leave the baking to me. What went wrong here?"

Just returning back from a coffee run, he placed our cups atop the counter, grabbed a cookie and (with an expression akin to Anthony Bourdain before begrudgingly sipping on Palm Wine in Ghana...) cautiously took a bite.

The whole thing reeked of attitude! This was a delicate, beautiful cookie!  Not fermented palm sap from a far away tree!  But instead of saying a word...I simply looked away.  I knew that cookie would speak for itself!

And speak it did! 

One cookie turned to two...two to three... and there surely would have been a fourth if I hadn't stiff armed the man from the cooling rack - reminding him the cookies (he initially criticised) were for our darling daughter's adorable preschool snack day! 

Still chewing...he slowly but graciously... backed away. 

Moral of the story...do not let the "cakiness" of this cookie persuade you from giving them a try!

Resembling Elaine's Muffin Tops (perhaps more than a cookie)... these delectable treats are amazingly simple, perfectly moist and melt in your mouth delicious!

*Below you'll see for the kiddo's... I topped the Pumpkin Cookies with a simple drizzle of homemade cream cheese frosting.

Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Recipe courtesy, Libby's Pumpkin, verybestbaking.com


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets. (I used parchment paper)

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes (mine took 12) or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies ~ My Plotting Pantry

I'm afraid of my pantry...it's resembling, "The Land of Misfit Foods."

That's not to say what I have on hand is bad or even all that unique...just a plethora of random items either left over from recipes past or purchased one day with great intent, only to be left sitting in the pantry contemplating their destiny.

My poor Irish Steel Cut Oats keep glaring at me as if asking, "what else do we have to do besides look good to get a shot? We've been in here forever, are we not blog worthy?" 

Like the little girl who used to believe her dolls and stuffed animals came to life at night (because the two sisters she worshiped told her so) when the lights go off ...and all is dark... I am certain my aging food is plotting behind my back!

So I looked fear straight in the eye, took inventory of what I had on hand and then scoured the web for a recipe that worked.  The result was this chocolaty...chewy...nutty and delicious oatmeal cookie!

The only things is...well... the recipe called for Quick Rolled Oats... so I had no other choice but to once again ...evvver so slightly... push those Irish Oats aside to grab their distant instant Quaker Cousins.  Without dare making eye contact (and I'm sure falling upon deaf 'Irish Steel Cut' ears) I nervously whispered, "I promise...your day will come soon..."

I slept that night with one eye open...

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from: PANTHERA, at allrecipes.com   yields about 42 cookies

(*note changes I made)

1 cup butter, softened (*I used 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup applesauce)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (*I used 1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
(*I added 1/2 tsp cinnamon)

1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. (If doing the butter and applesauce, this will look funny but don't worry, the end result will be fine!) Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

3.Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Red Onion Marmalade ~ Rustic Elegance

A thanks to my Mom - who first thought enough of this Red Onion Marmalade - to make it many years ago for a special reception at our town's Historical Society.  So many guests asked for the recipe... it ultimately appeared in the society's monthly newsletter!

...and if that's not reason enough to make this wonderful dish... read on...

I'm not sure what's best about the marmalade?  The aroma of the onions cooking down in vinegar, butter and honey...or...the earthy recipe's inherent simplicity ~ but served in a bowl with a side of crusty bread ~ it makes a wonderful rustic appetizer to a comforting home cooked meal!

For an elegant presentation, neatly mound the marmalade atop a toasted crostini with a bit of your favorite cheese ~ an instant decadent cocktail hors d'oeuvre ~ your guests are sure to devour!


Red Onion Marmalade
appeared in Gourmet Magazine many years ago

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 lb red onions (2 medium) halved lengthwise, then very thinly sliced
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mild honey (go easy on the honey if you don't want it too sweet)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Melt butter in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then cook onions uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soften, about 8 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and cook covered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are melting and tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Serve marmalade at room temperature (or warm) on crostini.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brown Sugar Ginger Crisp Cookies

These Brown Sugar Ginger Crisp Cookies are an all time favorite with my family!  Adults and kids alike, love their brown, buttery, crispy edges and soft, chewy centers!

I sort of posted about these cookies previously on this blog (back in May, stuffing them with frozen yogurt) but the truth is, unadulterated...this simple, refined cookie deserves a prominent spot amongst all your holiday baking!

Make them once and they'll become a must have family tradition!

Brown Sugar Ginger Crisp Cookies
Gourmet Magazine 2001

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (3 oz)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderate speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in yolk, vanilla, and gingers. Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

Drop heaping teaspoons of dough about 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets and bake in batches in middle of oven until golden, 13 to 15 minutes (our convection oven, they took 8 minutes.) Cool cookies on sheets on racks 5 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely.